Today's version of MoneyWise Live is prerecorded, so our phone lines are not open. Raising children and managing money are always a challenge, but even more so for the single parent.
Hi, I'm Rob West. The U.S. has the dubious distinction of being a world leader in single-parent households. For parents on their own, staying on budget and saving for emergencies may seem impossible. I'll give some advice today, then we have some great questions lined up for you.
But don't call in today because we're prerecorded. This is MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial journey. For single parents grappling with money issues, I think a good place to start would be with organization.
If you suddenly find yourself taking on the role of a single parent, maybe you weren't the one doing the bills and handling finances. So get yourself a folder or binder to start gathering your financial documents. You can expand that to a more extensive filing system as you go. Then gather up all of your paid bills and keep them in one place.
You could use another folder for that, but even a shoebox will work. Now, you need to make up a chart or calendar for all of your bills in the days of the month when they're due. If you see dates coming up soon and you know you won't have the money to pay one or more of those bills, contact the creditors and let them know your situation. They may be able to give you an extension or help in some other way. Keep in mind, and I can't stress this enough, it's never a good idea to run from your creditors.
Run toward them instead. This will help preserve your good credit rating. Now, you're ready to draw up your spending plan.
Don't worry about it being perfect. Just do the best you can and know that it will change probably quite often in the months ahead. The Free Money Wise app is a great tool to develop your spending plan. It has three different ways you can set up your budget. One of them will work for your particular situation.
You can download it wherever you get your apps. Now, as you set up your budget, you'll input your total monthly income and then assign money to the various categories you set up. Besides your recurring bills, these would include your giving, groceries, debt, and other expenses. You have to keep spending in the various categories to within limits for this to work. I won't give a percentage for every category, but just know that you'll have problems if more than 25% of your take-home pay goes to housing. Food shouldn't exceed 15%.
Transportation, another 15%. Of course, the goal is to have some money left over. You need that margin or discretionary income to start building your emergency fund of three to six months living expenses and to invest for the future. Now, if you discover that you don't have enough to cover all of your expenses, don't panic.
It's not the end of the world. You have two options. You can find ways to trim your expenses or look for ways to bring in extra money, or both. Let's start with cutting your expenses.
I would go over each category in your budget one at a time and think of ways you can cut spending. The grocery category is often a place where you can trim without sacrificing nutrition. Avoid processed packaged foods and prepare your own meals. Make a list before you go to the store based on a menu plan and stick to it. I would avoid eating out. If you can't cut your cable entirely, can you go to a more basic package?
The same with your phone. Can you get by with a less expensive plan? You need adequate insurance for your home and auto, but if you combine the two, you can probably save money.
Now, once you've trimmed all of your expenses, you may find that your budget is balanced. If not, then you'll have to look at the income side of the equation. You'll either need to pick up more hours on your job or look for a second one.
If you feel you deserve a raise, but you were putting off asking your boss, well, now's a great time to do it. Employers are still desperate to retain good workers. A lot more work from home opportunities are available these days, but be careful because there are plenty of scams too.
The best way to earn money working from home is to find a company that would pay you to do work on site and then convince them that they can save money, no office space needed, for example, by letting you do it from home. And a last word for single parents experiencing financial difficulties. God is with you regardless of your circumstances. I've counseled with hundreds of single parent families.
I know how challenging it can be. Invite God into your financial life through prayer. Turn it over to him.
Don't rob him of the opportunity to provide by using debt and let others know where you're at in your situation. The body of Christ can rally around you to be an encouragement in this difficult time. Deuteronomy 31 tells you, be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them for it is the Lord your God who goes with you.
He will not leave you or forsake you. Folks, we're going to pause for a quick break again. We're not here today, so don't call in, but more questions just around the corner. This is MoneyWise Live, biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. I'm Rob West and we'll be right back.
Don't go anywhere. This is MoneyWise Live with Rob West. Hey, if you hear a phone number mentioned today, please ignore that number and don't call us because today's broadcast is a reprise edition, but we think the upcoming information will help you and make you a wise steward of what God's given you.
So please stay tuned. Let's talk God's money. Our role as stewards is manager of God's resources because it all belongs to him.
Money is a tool to accomplish his purposes. So let's hold it loosely and manage it faithfully according to the wisdom we find in scripture. You know, 16 of the parables, more than 2,300 verses have some connection to money and possessions, but there are bigger themes we pull out of God's word as we see how we should approach our resources, that which God trusts to us.
We need to know the heart of the master as a steward in order to faithfully manage the master's resources. Well, we see in scripture that we are to live within God's provision, that we should count the cost, that we should live with contentment. That is a hallmark of our lives should be oriented toward living within God's provision, that we should handle our money in a way that says that God is our ultimate aim, not the things of this world.
We should hold it loosely. We should be generous givers and we should provide for our families. But how do we do that in this world where we want to seek the heart of God and not get trapped in the comparison trap? Well, we've got to go to the Lord in prayer. We've got to start on our knees and invite God into our financial lives. We've got to ask him to give us wisdom to make the decisions and choices we face every day. We've got to ask him how much is enough for lifestyle and for accumulation. And we've got to make sure that our values are aligned with our spending, because the way we spend God's money is the clearest indicator into what we value and where we've placed our trust. What's most important to us?
Well, as we think about all of that, we believe we can find God's heart for managing his money. And we do that together on this program. Let's begin today in Texas. Hey, George, thanks for calling.
Go right ahead. I've got a question concerning my wife starting her Social Security. That would need to be based upon my work history since she doesn't have enough work credits to claim Social Security on hers.
I plan to work as close to age 70 as I can. Yes. OK. So she does not have the 40 quarters or 10 years of retirement having accumulated at least 40 quarters of covered employment. Is that right? Right.
OK. Yeah. So she would be if she continues to work, obviously, and she gets to that point where she earns credits up to those 40 quarters, then she would be able to claim on her own benefit. Apart from that, she could take spousal benefits. And so you would typically be eligible for up to 50 percent of your spouse's benefits once your spouse files for retirement benefits. And that would be what she would be able to claim to supplement what you would be receiving on your own record. Right. Now, is it possible for her to go ahead and file now, even though I'm not currently filed for Social Security?
No, you have to wait until your spouse is claiming benefits and you're at least 62 years of age before you'd be able to receive your spousal benefit. OK. That's what I need to know. Thank you. OK. You're very welcome, George. Thanks for calling today.
We appreciate it. Eight hundred five to five. Seven thousand is the number to call.
We've got some lines open. You know, when it comes to Social Security, a lot of folks wonder, does it make sense to delay taking my benefits in order to get that higher check? And what about the amount that I'm giving up while I'm doing that?
Well, here's the numbers on that. You know, if you would have been able to take full retirement benefits at age 67 and you wait until age 70, which at that point beyond age 70, you're no longer going to increase your benefits. So there's no reason to wait. You would obviously be giving up three years worth of benefits.
Well, what do you get in return? Well, that benefit is going to grow by 8 percent a year, actually one twelfth of 8 percent every month. For every month you wait beyond full retirement age. So over those three years, let's say your check is 24 percent, 25 percent higher than what it would have been at age 67.
Well, you're going to have to get that higher benefit, that extra 25 percent. How long is it going to take to make up the three years you gave up? Well, on average, it's going to take about 12 years. So the question is, if you will live longer than 12 years, you know, does it make sense?
Absolutely. Well, we don't know when the Lord is going to call us home. But the reality is that once we reach age 65, life expectancy for an American is 82 or 83 for men and women. And so there's a good chance if the Lord tarries and you're in good health that you are going to live beyond those 12 years. And from that point forward, you've got a 24 percent higher paycheck for the rest of your life from Social Security. So that's the case for why you might want to consider waiting if you're able to do so. Now, if you can't, some folks are forced to take it even as early as 62, where you'd take a 30 percent haircut or reduction in the amount of that check because you just simply have to. But if you can wait because you have other resources or you're working longer, you might want to consider delaying that benefit so you can get that check up just as high as you can. Hope that helps you.
Laura writes to us. She says, I'm on Social Security disability. I make nine hundred and thirty dollars a month and my rent is eight hundred. I don't have enough to pay a tithe.
I feel guilty. I'm giving as much as I can. Does that count as tithing? And I would just say, Laura, the Lord knows your heart. He doesn't need your money. Remember, he owns it all.
The cattle on a thousand hills. Psalm 24 one says the earth is the Lord's and everything in it. He wants you and your heart. Money is the training ground of the heart. And it's not about how much you can give.
It's about your heart posture. Now, clearly, if we have the financial resources and we can order our finances in such a way that we can give a tithe a tenth on God's increase to us as a starting point, I would say, by all means, go ahead and then look for ways to give beyond that over time. In your situation, you're living on a very fixed and limited income, probably struggling to keep the bills paid and food on the table. The Lord sees that. And I would be saying the opportunity is for others in the body of Christ to see your need and respond as to whether or not you need to feel guilty about what you can give as unto the Lord. I wouldn't say you should for a second. Again, the Lord loves you. His promises are true and he wants the best for you.
You don't need to worry about the situation that you're in. Just be the best manager of what he's given to you. And let's see how God's people respond and provide around you. Well, folks, we're going to need to take a quick break here in just a second.
But as we're getting out of the starting gate today, we want to be found faithful in managing God's resources. I'd love to help you do it. When we come back, we'll be tackling whatever financial questions you have today. Hey, by the way, as we enter this stretch of the last two months of the year, we can use your financial assistance. Money Wise Media is listener supported, which means we do what we do on this broadcast each day as a result of your listener support. You can give quickly and safely online at moneywise.org.
Just click give and thanks in advance. We'll be right back with much more on Money Wise Live biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. Stay with us. We'll be right back.
Today's program is prerecorded, so keep that in mind when you hear phone numbers. We're going to pause for a brief break now, but Rob West will be back in a moment with more Money Wise Live. Thanks for joining us today on Money Wise Live.
I'm Rob West, your host. You know, we see in Luke 12 the parable of the rich fool, which concludes by talking about the fact that we should be rich toward God. He says to this rich fool, this is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself, but is not rich toward God. What does that mean? Well, I think it's managing our money in such a way that it's apparent that God is our ultimate joy and affection, not our things.
We've got to reorient our hearts and our minds toward how we handle God's resources so we can in fact not be rich toward the things of this world, but rich toward God, where he is the object of our affection. Well, that's what we try to do each day on this program. Our phone lines are not open at the moment because we're away from the studio, but we have some great questions that we lined up in advance. Back to your emails today.
We always appreciate when you write to us and we try to get as many of these emails on the air as possible. You can write to us at MoneyWise.org. This one comes from Seth and he writes, What is your stance on bankruptcy?
My wife and I are considering it as a last ditch effort. Well, first of all, borrowing is not a sin, but the Bible is very clear the wicked borrows and does not repay. And so we need to have an absolute commitment to repayment. How does that relate to bankruptcy? Well, you won't find bankruptcy in the Bible.
It's a modern legal concept that we've created. And you may find yourself backed into a corner where you need to take bankruptcy because you need to protect your assets. It may be the best legal option for you.
And I would say whether it's a seven or a 13, I would go into that with a lot of wise, godly counsel as you make that decision. Seek out a Christian bankruptcy attorney before you make a decision one way or the other. But beyond that, how do we approach the repayment? Well, I could tell you countless stories, including the famous stories of the Malone brothers going back to the correct craft boats where after bankruptcy, they repaid every dime to the creditors. And in fact, it wasn't easy to do because a lot of them will kind of look at you funny because they've charged it off. In some cases, insurance has been paid, but that's OK.
I would make your best effort to try to pay back everything you own or owe as you're able. And that's the key. And you're going to have to work that out with each creditor. So I think if you get forced into that situation, that's OK. But remember, we need to protect and preserve our witness.
We need to honor our commitment. And within God's provision to the best of our ability as stewards, let's try to manage God's money well and let's honor our obligations along the way. By the way, when it comes to borrowing, you know, there are some rules that we consider when we're borrowing. Again, borrowing is not a sin, but it's clear in God's word that it's discouraged.
It's been referred to as a curse. It says in God's word that the relationship changes between borrower and lender. And so it's a lender slave relationship, which is why I believe co-signing is an absolute no-no in the Bible, because it changes that relationship.
And when you put money in a relationship, the damage that can be caused is significant. So in light of that, how should we approach borrowing? Well, we should limit our borrowing. We should only buy for assets that are appreciating to the best of our ability.
So that would be a house or a business. We should have absolute spousal agreement before we borrow. We should make sure we can service the debt in our budgets effectively, that we're not presuming upon the future and that ultimately we're not robbing God of an opportunity to provide. You know, when we get in a difficult spot, let's invite God into our finances, spread out the bills on the kitchen table and say, God, you see this and I'm going to ask you to step in and meet this need as I seek to be found faithful and watch as he provides even miraculously with a knock on the door. Let's not be so quick to pull out the credit and rob God of the opportunity to step in. I hope that's an encouragement to you. Hey, let's head back to the phones. To Alabama we go. Hey, Bruce, thanks for calling.
How can I help you, sir? Hey, I paid off my house last month and I've noticed that when you close an account, it kind of affects your credit score. So we'll pay it off my house. Is it going to affect my credit score in any way? It will.
It could come down and likely will slightly. It's not a reason not to pay it off. Bruce, by the way, congratulations for paying off that home. I'm sure that feels pretty good, doesn't it? And that's what you work all your life for. That's exactly right. Yeah, I know. That's right. You know, I've never gotten a call in all the years I've been doing this from somebody that said I paid off my house last week and I've just regretted it ever since. I just don't get that call. So congratulations.
I'm delighted that you did. Yeah. In terms of your credit score, here's what's going on. Number one is to the extent that particular scoring formula no longer factors that credit in and the history associated with it in the credit scoring algorithm, then you've lost perhaps one of the longest credit accounts that was factoring into your history, which makes up 10% of your score. The second thing is your credit mix is also a part of your credit score. So part of this algorithm that determines the likelihood that you are to pay as agreed is based on whether you have a what they call a healthy mix of credit.
So varying between different types of debt, revolving accounts like credit cards, installment accounts, like car loans, and yes, a mortgage. And as one of those gets removed from the equation, it changes your credit mix and that ultimately affects your credit score. So you're probably going to see a minor drop in that score. The bottom line though is, Bruce, unless you're out seeking new credit for a car or another mortgage, which I can't imagine you're going to do, you know, you really don't need that credit score to be, you know, 750 plus. And if it takes a minor dip here temporarily, it's really not that big of a deal. So I would enjoy the fruit of having a home that's completely free and clear and just know that any drop in that credit score is going to be minor, probably temporary. And at the end of the day, I wouldn't think too much about it.
Thanks for calling today. By the way, we hear from a lot of folks who are wondering about credit scores, just wanting to know, how do I think about my credit score in light of living in this world? Well, it's used for a lot of things, not only to determine whether or not to extend you credit in the terms, but also insurance premiums could even be a job employment consideration.
So we want a good credit score, which means we need to manage credit wisely, but we don't ever want to go into debt for the sake of our credit score. I hope that helps you. Hey folks, let me remind you before we take our break that the MoneyWise app is available in your app store. Just search for MoneyWise Biblical Finance.
You'll find broadcast archives. You'll find our money management system where you can use our digital envelope system or just our tracking system. Whatever you want to do, it's right there for the taking. MoneyWise app, search for MoneyWise Biblical Finance. We're going to pause. MoneyWise Live will return right after this. Stay with us. We're so thankful you've chosen to join us today on MoneyWise Live, Biblical wisdom for your financial decisions. This is the program where we recognize that our financial journey is in many ways tied to our spiritual journey, often money and the things that money can buy as a competitor to lordship.
So we want to hold what we have loosely, recognizing God's authority and ownership, our role as steward, to be found faithful, applying his principles that we find in his word to the decisions and choices we make every day. Let's do that together. By the way, we're away from the studio today, so don't call in, but we've got some great questions that we lined up in advance. Let's head right back to the phones, to Arkansas. Hey, Ruth, thank you for calling. Go right ahead. Thank you for taking my call.
I have a question. Me and my husband were in our 60s and we got a lot of credit card debt and I have an opportunity. I could borrow against the life insurance to get them paid off and then pay my insurance back or I don't know the best way to go about it. Yeah, Ruth, I know this could really weigh on you. I'm sorry you're in this spot.
I'd love to help you think through this in terms of the best path forward. How much do you all have in credit card debt, roughly? About 20,000.
About 20,000. All right. And are you able to keep up with it every month? Are you paying the minimums? Yes. Okay.
And I try to pay extra every month. Well, that's great. So that's encouraging. But it's just high interest.
Yeah, I get it. And it's heading higher as the Fed raises rates. So here's my preferred option for this.
And we've used this strategy with hundreds and hundreds of our listeners and it's incredibly effective. If you have more than 4,000 in credit card debt, I recommend what's called a debt management program or it's often referred to as credit counseling. This is where you're going to continue to leave the debt right where it is. It's not going to be replaced with a new loan. But through credit counseling, these interest rates are going to be lowered. So those sky-high interest rates you're facing right now, Ruth, are going to come down dramatically. And by getting one fixed monthly payment in your budget that goes through the credit counseling agency to the creditors with these lower interest rates, that's going to allow you to pay it off 80% faster and you won't have to touch the life insurance.
And that's a far more effective strategy over time to get this paid off. And I think it'll give you the encouragement that you need, Ruth, to know that you're actually making progress and that you have a plan to get this paid off once and for all. So I would contact my friends at Christian Credit Counselors. They're all believers.
They'll encourage you and pray with you. They'll get you set up quickly, tell you what the payment would be and tell you what those lower interest rates are. Are you comfortable, Ruth, doing business online? Yes.
Okay. So go to their website, christiancreditcounselors.org, and you'll find a toll-free number there if you'd like to call them or you can schedule a meeting right over the internet. They're a nonprofit credit counseling agency.
They work with all of our MoneyWise listeners and they are phenomenal. And I think you'll be encouraged once you get to the end of it. Okay. Thank you.
All right, Ruth, we appreciate your call today. Hey, let me take a moment and talk about the MoneyWise app because, you know, in light of what's going on around us with inflation, the average American family spending 500 plus more per month on just basic needs, I mean, we're seeing it at the gas pump, we're seeing it at the grocery store, we're seeing it across the board. It really is causing us to have to take a step back and say, perhaps living without a spending plan is not going to work for me. I need to get to a place where I give every dollar a name. I have a plan that directs the allocation of God's resources to the things that are most closely aligned to what's important to me, that I'm giving, that I'm saving for the future, that I'm providing for my family, that I'm living within my means, that I have margin to build up savings or reduce debt. Well, you can't do that without a spending plan.
So here's what we did. Larry Burkett back in the years ago in the late 70s and 80s introduced a concept called the envelope system. And this is basically where you physically use envelopes to fund with every paycheck by category your spending accounts and then you spend cash out of those envelopes until it's gone and that curbs your spending because when the envelope is empty, you're done for the month in that category.
Well, it's a highly effective strategy that's been used for decades. Well, we wanted to take here at MoneyWise a fresh digital approach to that tried and true envelope system in a beautiful interface that's simple with the latest security measures where you could download all your transactions from your credit cards, checking, savings into the app automatically categorized by digital envelopes. So at any point you or you and your spouse could see what's left in each envelope in the palm of your hand. And that's the MoneyWise app. Our team spent a couple of years with some amazing developers building it and I think it's the best money management tool out there.
I'd love for you to check it out. You'll find it on our website at MoneyWise.org. Just click the app button, then you can read all about it at MoneyWise.org or if you're on your smartphone now and you want to jump into your app store, the Google Play or the Apple App Store, you can do that quickly and easily. Just search for MoneyWise Biblical Finance in your app store and you can download it today. Again, it's the MoneyWise app and I think you'll be encouraged not only by the money management tool that's there but also our MoneyWise community where you can post questions and get responses from other everyday stewards and our Learn tab where all of the best content in Christian finance is aggregated for your encouragement and enjoyment. It's all right there in the MoneyWise app. Check it out today. All right, let's head back to the phones.
We're going to stay in Arkansas. Hey Mary, thanks for calling. Go right ahead.
Hello. I just want to say I listen to you and I appreciate every word you put out there. Well thank you. I appreciate that.
You're welcome. But my question was about the Christian credit counseling that you were talking about. We are poor. My daughter is in medical school and we are constantly taking out student loans and using credit cards to get through. My question is because her continued education relies a lot on her credit score, does this counseling affect her credit score?
Yeah, it's a great question Mary. And by the way, thanks for your kind remarks there and encouragement. You know, credit counseling or debt management is not a part of the credit scoring algorithm. So the fact that you're in one of these programs does not affect your credit score. But that's not the full story because what happens is when you go into credit counseling, every account that's entered into the program that has that reduction in interest that's now being paid through debt management, which is again, I think the most effective strategy, those accounts are closed.
So they cannot be used any longer, which means you couldn't charge anything new on them. And whenever a card is closed, it does change your credit score. And in many cases it will result in a decline because now the balances that you're carrying are a higher percentage of your total available credit with this particular card or cards coming out of that equation. So your credit utilization can go up. Also the closing of the accounts, which pulls that history out of the equation can cause your credit score to drop.
So although the fact that you're in the program doesn't affect your credit score, the closing of the accounts could, and you just have to understand the practical implications of that card no longer being available once it's in the program. Does that make sense to you? Yes. And my next question is, do we have to include all of our credit cards?
You do not, no. So you would work with them to determine which ones to put in. Okay, we can pick and choose. Absolutely. And you can make that decision. And I realize things are tight and you all are doing the best you can. I'd love for you to try to get to a place where we can right size that budget so we don't rely on those credit cards anymore.
But I realize that's easier said than done. So I'd give them a call. They'll walk you through all of this, help you set up your budget, your spending plan, determine which cards to put in and what those lower interest rates are. And let's get some of those paid off at the very least.
Christiancreditcounselors.org is the place to go. We'll be right back with more questions on Money Wise Live studios. Welcome back to Money Wise Live, where biblical wisdom meets today's financial decisions. Here in our last segment of the broadcast, we'll try to get through as many of these questions as we can. Let's head to, well, stay in Arkansas.
Hey, Rob, how can I help you, sir? So about seven years ago, I took a $75,000 loan off my house, and that was to build a pool on my property. The revolving loan was for eight years, so obviously it was going to expire next year. So what I mean my wife decided to do was I have a 2021 GMC Sierra pickup truck that I borrowed money off of that to pay for the revolving loan to get it out of the way and take the lien off the house. Now I've got a lien on my truck.
Was this a good idea? Well, yeah, I mean, a couple of things here. I mean, obviously you've now got a loan collateralized by a car versus a house. I'd much rather if something really catastrophic happened, I'd rather lose the car than the house.
So that's a good thing. I think it really does come down to the terms. Did you have a variable rate? Was it a HELOC on the house? It was a variable rate according to the market, so it was going to be fixed and to go up anyway.
Yeah, exactly. And now did you get a fixed rate on the auto loan? I did, unfortunately, because of the size of the loan, my bank stuck me with 9%. However, I've also had offers on Credit Karma for people already know that I had this loan and they wanted to offer me a lower monthly payment along with a lower percentage rate, but longer term.
Yeah. So you're going to need to crunch the numbers on that. And there's some great online calculators that can help you do that. The key is not just the payment, but really the ultimate total amount of interest that you will pay over the life of the loan.
So we're going to want to keep it as short as possible. You may find, depending on your credit score, where it's at today and whether it's improving over time, you may find that it does make sense to refinance this at some point. I think the key is let's get this paid off as quick as we can and let's look at options along the way.
You've got to factor in the closing costs, any fees associated with refinancing this car loan and be cautious on extending that term. You know, you've got to check based on the interest rate and the term, what is the total amount of interest that you will pay over the life of the loan. So let's stay with what you've got and let's just limit your lifestyle spending, Rob, in such a way that you can free up as much margin as possible so you can send over and above that monthly payment to get that paid off. If you have to stick with this loan, just try to pay it off as quick as you can. If it does make sense, whether you find something through a solicitation or you go to bankrate.com or NerdWallet and you find another loan that would be better in terms of the total cost of interest paid, then don't be afraid to refinance it along the way.
But I think that shouldn't ever change the fact that we don't want to just settle for that minimum payment and we want to get it paid off as quick as we can. Okay, Rob. I appreciate your time.
Thank you so much. Absolutely, Rob. Thank you for calling, sir. We appreciate you.
To Wichita, Kansas, Randall, you're next on the program, sir. Go right ahead. Good morning.
Thanks for taking my call. I am thinking about retiring. I am 62, will be 63 into the year.
Just need to go ahead. And my wife, the house was paid for. My wife can take care of all the bills and everything. And I just need to know the disadvantage of going ahead and retiring and not starting to draw my Social Security. Or should I go ahead and start drawing my Social Security when I go ahead and retire at 63?
Because you said earlier, the disadvantage and advantage of when you retire at 67 or 68, whatever retirement Sure, I'm answer. Right. But just to be clear on that, Randall, you said even if you retire at 62 or 63, without taking Social Security, your bills are covered because of your wife's income?
Correct. Our house was paid for. Yeah, great. Yeah, it sounds like you all made some wise decisions along the way, putting you in a position where you're able to live pretty modestly.
And that's great. You know, I think this, first of all, this is a decision that's not financial, Randall, which is just you and your wife sitting down and praying through this season of life, what I'll call the third season of life where you're asking, Lord, what do you have for us? What are you calling us to?
How should we spend our time? You know, whether that's it's always going to be in service to him. Our calling doesn't expire until he takes us home. But that doesn't mean it's going to be oriented necessarily toward paid work. But if it's not, what is it to? Because I don't think we should just, you know, we should have some leisure and some rest as a part of our rhythm. But we don't want to spend all of our days on the front porch. God has called us to be here for more than that. So I think we need to be thinking about what am I going to do with my time if I'm retiring from something, I need to retire to something as well.
And so I think there's a lot of conversation that needs to be had there and really some prayer as well about what this next season of life is going to look like. With regard to the financial side, I mean, because you guys have lived the way you've lived, you're putting yourself in a position financially where you can do whatever you want. And that's a great thing when you have options in terms of why you wouldn't want to do it. Well, the only reason would be if you wanted to continue to work, whether that's in your current job or something else, maybe that's less demanding, a little closer to home. I see in my notes here that you drive a semi truck, maybe you want to get off the road, but your ability to continue to earn income is going to allow you all to save more for the future. So you're putting less drain on your wife's income and perhaps you're able to put something away through your continued work and whatever that might be.
Why would you do that? Well, if you felt like you didn't have enough in the way of assets for, let's say, a long-term care need, which depending on whether you need in-home care or nursing care, and by the way, 70% of Americans 65 and older will need it for some period of time, on average 18 months to three years, that could run as much as $6,000, $7,000, $8,000 a month, depending on what type of care you need, and that could erode your assets in a hurry. So if you had the ability to continue to work as unto the Lord and put some more money away, that would be a reason why you'd want to do that. Why would you want to not draw Social Security? Well, you're going to get a guaranteed 8% roughly increase every year in that benefit check permanently for every year you wait. So if you take it at 62 instead of full retirement age, you're going to take about a 30%, 25 to 30% reduction permanently in that benefit check for the rest of your life.
So if you can avoid taking that, it will continue to build until full retirement age, and from that point forward, you can keep increasing it by 8% a year until age 70 and get a check as much as 24% higher than you would have received at full retirement age. So I think you've just got to look at the non-financial side and the financial side. You've got options.
That's a good thing, and so you all just need to try to make the best decision for you all. Does that make sense? Yes, it does. I appreciate your time.
I appreciate your help. You have a good day. All right, Randall, thanks for checking with us, sir.
We appreciate you very, very much. Well, folks, we've covered a lot of ground today. Let me finish with some thoughts related to getting rich quick.
You know, this comes up often. We hear from folks, especially that are a little behind in their retirement savings or maybe they've been hit up with some scheme or idea where they can get a 20% or 30% return on an investment, and it's sounding pretty good, and they're thinking they could perhaps take a shortcut to building wealth quickly, and that's a pretty significant temptation. We see it in the news, crimes like shoplifting, drug dealing, identity theft, or even something that might seem legitimate but turns out to be a pyramid scheme. These are all on the rise because pride and greed never really go away. Well, while you might not be planning to steal a TV, you may be tempted by a get rich quick scheme promising to make you rich in no time with multi-level sales, house flipping, or day trading from home, and all you have to do is pay a fee, attend a seminar, or order a brochure.
Well, these programs can make you think you can earn lots of money without too much time or effort. According to our friend Jim Neuheiser, author of the book Money Seeking God's Wisdom, you know the best financial plans follow God's principles. He says, quote, God has revealed his way of building wealth gradually, through hard work and skill. Pride leads us to think that we can circumvent the Lord's wisdom. And you know the Bible confirms this in Proverbs 28 19 and 20, listen to this, whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty. A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. It's good to recognize and avoid get rich quick programs, but that doesn't solve the problem of wanting to get rich quickly. You know, there are some dangers of that mentality. First, getting involved with things we don't understand.
You know, I like to say if we can't explain the investment to our mom, we have no business doing it. Proverbs 24 verses three and four remind us by wisdom the house is built and by understanding it's established and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. The second danger and get rich quick is the temptation to risk money you don't have or can't afford to lose. Proverbs 27 says the prudent man sees evil and hides himself.
The naive proceed and pay the penalty. The third problem with get rich quick without hard work or skill is that it usually involves making impulsive decisions. Proverbs 28 says a man with an evil eye hastens after wealth and does not know that want will come upon him.
So even if you're in financial trouble, trusting and get rich quick programs to pull you out is a recipe for disaster. But there is hope. Jim goes on to write, in the end, those who reject God's wisdom will suffer the consequences, but we can be confident that as we trust him and seek to walk in his ways, our needs will be met. You know, as we continue to develop the mind of Christ, spending daily time in God's word is key. We'd like to help you do that by requesting a copy of Jim Neuheiser's devotional with any gift to MoneyWise.
You'll find biblical wisdom inside this 31-day devotional. Again, it's called Money Seeking God's Wisdom. Just go to MoneyWise.org, click the banner on the page and your generous donation by December 31st will help us expand our outreach to share God's financial principles with others.
Again, MoneyWise.org is the place to go and thanks in advance. Well, folks, that's going to do it for us today. Thanks for listening. MoneyWise Live is a partnership between Moody Radio and MoneyWise Media. This is where God's word intersects with your financial life. Come back and join us next time, will you? God bless you.
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